Loving Kindness Practice
I’ve had a lot of requests in my classes lately for heart focus. 'Tis the season for love and joy, but also, often, stress-filled time with family. The maitri meditation is a perfect practice for this month, with a focus on loving-kindness. If you are unfamiliar with this meditation, it's a five-part offering to self, a loved-one, a neutral being, someone with whom you are experiencing dis-harmony and finally to all beings.
Start by finding a comfortable seat in a quiet place. This doesn’t have to be on the floor! Meditation can be done in a chair or on your couch–the important thing is to be comfortable and be able to lift the spine upright without too much effort. Take a moment to settle into this seat, close your eyes and let your breath deepen. You may want to bring your palms together at the center of your chest, as a gesture of offering. From your quiet seat, make the offering five times.
may we have health and happiness, may we be free from suffering, may we know love, may we live with ease
- Round one - self-focused
- Round two - for a well-loved being
- Round three - for a neutral being (someone you feel neither great affection or discord towards)
- Round four - for someone you are experiencing a challenging relationship with
- Round five - for all beings
As you move through each round of the meditation, take time to pause in between the steps and let your breath ease any tension or discomfort that may develop. Notice the effect the meditation has on your body and your mind. It’s ok if you don’t feel bright and cheery. This can be a hard practice, but usually an effective one to keep the heart tender, open and patient.
Rebekah Papé is a writer, yoga teacher and Riveter member. Her personal wellness practices and teachings are seasonally inspired. Join her weekly for yoga and meditation, and on December 20th for Accessible Ayurveda - Welcome Winter.